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Cleveland Better Business Bureau warns of puppy scams

Sad tales during COVID-19 pandemic.

CLEVELAND — The Cleveland Better Business Bureau (BBB) is sending out an alert for consumers to watch out for a scam involving purchasing puppies from fake animal breeders.

Scam artists are asking consumers to wire money to them claiming to be animal breeders in order to purchase a dog or kitten they have seen posted online.

The "animal breeders" will ask for money to cover the purchase price as well as the delivery and transportation costs.

The victims will then wire money and never receive the pet.

Puppy scams are a major problem and the BBB International Investigations Initiative documented that reports of these scams have increased over 39% in three years.

Since 2017, the Better Business Bureau has received over 16,000 complaints and reports from consumers in connection with puppy scams.

The most common dog breeds reported in puppy scams are French Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, and Bulldogs.

To avoid falling prey to these puppy scams, the BBB is advising consumers to follow these tips:  Visit a breeder to see the pets, while of course maintaining social distancing, or ask a breeder if they will do a video conference to show the pet.

DO a reverse image search of the animal.  Experts warn if the picture of the pet is seen on multiple websites, it may be fraudulent.

DO NOT WIRE money, do not pay a breeder with a money order.  It's best to pay with a credit card or PayPal  in case charges have to be disputed later.

To search for previous complaints or to do more research, go to bbb.org.

Check local animal shelters. Volunteers and employees can help consumers find the perfect pet.

During the pandemic stay at home order, now is a great time to add a pet to the household!

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